Many traders import goods from the Middle-East and other nations in America, Asia and Europe to Kenya. Sometimes, these goods fall short of the quality requirements for end-consumers.
In order to assure the consumers that the quality and safety of imported goods they purchase is satisfactory, the Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) – a state agency of the government of Kenya – instituted a raft of guidelines known as the Pre-Export Verification of Conformity (PVoC) Standards Program for all imported goods.
Under the PVoC program in Kenya, accredited third-party inspection agents carry out inspection on behalf of KEBS.
As per these guidelines, exporters and importers are responsible for ensuring that their goods and consignments are in full compliance with the Kenya PVoC Standards.
Thereafter, they ought to obtain a mandatory Certificate of Conformity (CoC). The CoC is a mandatory document that is necessary to be issued for the goods to be cleared at the customs at the point of entry.
Any imports that do not meet the standards set by KEBS are meant to be declared non-conformant and, therefore, illegal.
The Sector Players’ Responsibilities
Each sector player has a responsibility to carry out under the PVoC program in Kenya.
Importers: As an importer, you should ensure that the goods’ manufacturer or supplier is aware of the Kenyan Standards in terms of quality and obtain the CoC from your PVoC agent.
Exporters: Exporters ought to ensure that their goods are compliant with the Kenyan Standards by carrying out pre-shipment tests for all their products.
PVoC Agents: So far, four Inspection Agents have been contracted by KEBS to carry out the PVoC program. They carry out sampling, testing and sealing of goods prior to shipment.
KEBS: Is the body mandated to ensure quality and their job here is simple: they protect the consumer health and safety.
KRA: The KRA is mandated to collect revenue and to enforce restrictions related to trade. They will use the Certificate of Conformity as one of the requisite documents before clearance.
Routes for Obtaining the Certificate of Conformity
In order to enhance some sort of flexibility for any import to Kenya, the Kenya Bureau of Standards has instituted three “routes” for obtaining the Certificate of Conformity. The applicable route is based on the frequency of shipments to Kenya and the level of compliance they provide at the time of applying for certification.
Route A – Covers Occasional Exporters. No registration is required and testing and inspection is carried out before issuance of CoC.
Route B – Covers Frequent Exporters. Product registration is required prior to inspection. Testing is waived for imports of products under this and issuance of CoC may be based on physical inspection only and random testing.
Route C – Covers Frequent Exporters and Manufacturers who can prove the existence of elaborate testing at their production source.
A fee is applicable to these routes, as a percentage of the FOB (Free On Board) value. Route A attracts 0.500% of the FOB Value, Route B attracts 0.450% of the FOB Value and Route C attracts 0.250% of the FOB. Despite these percentages, these charges have a lower limit of USD 250 and an Upper limit of USD 2675.
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